We all worry about catching a bug from travelling and the last thing you want is to bring home a runny nose, or worse, to the family. But there is a physical bug that travellers need to respect and understand that can become an absolute nightmare if proper prevention actions aren’t taken. That’s right, the bed bug is the most frightening creepy crawler to the avid fliers or frequent couch surfer for good reason! This difficult to get rid of pest is a bit of a blood-sucking menace, but don’t worry! We’ve gathered some tips and information for you to prepare and prevent the possibility of bed bugs hitching a ride in your carry-on. Find out what you can do year-round to prevent those pesky bed bugs!
Where Do They Come From?
Bed bugs are only interested in humans and prefer the comfort and climate-controlled environments of our homes, meaning you can bring them home from a Christmas trip just as easily as from a summer lake vacation. However, bed bugs can follow you home from movie theatres or even from a cab ride. It’s important to recognize the signs of bed bugs in order to prevent an infestation as soon as possible because these critters work fast. Bed bugs don’t hibernate so they remain active through fall and winter when they can be a bit more difficult to detect with our extra layers of clothing and blankets.
Don’t be fooled, bed bugs are a problem 365 days of the year and that’s why it’s so important to know what to look for. They aren’t really vampires because they aren’t nocturnal, which is why you can pick them up in public places like buses, movie theatres, libraries and schools, nursing homes or hospitals. Here are a few tips on how to stay as bed bug-free as possible.
- Inspect everything you bring into your house! Always inspect backpacks, purses, shopping bags and books, either brand new or from school or the library. Be particularly mindful of clothing; both new and second-hand, as this is a popular mode of transportation for bed bugs.
- Thoroughly investigate hotel rooms, Airbnb or wherever you’re staying for signs of bed bugs! Bed bugs love a good headboard or a box spring and they will congregate in these areas as well as couch frames and chairs. If you see signs of rusty dark patches or fecal matter on the mattress, the sheets or even the walls accompanied with an awful musty odour, find another place to stay immediately!
- Instead of suitcases, pack up a duffel bag! The advantage of using a duffel bag is it’s much easier to wash than a suitcase and some can even be tossed straight into the washing machine! If you only own a suitcase that’s fine, just don’t store your suitcases anywhere near your bed or closet as this gives front row access to you and your belongings.
- Wash EVERYTHING when you get home! Don’t just wash the duffel bag, wash everything you took with you on your trip, including what you’re wearing! It’s recommended by bed bug prevention experts to strip down right in your entryway and throw your clothes in the washer immediately. Dry everything as the heat will kill anything the washing may have missed.
- Invest in Bug Proof Bags for your mattresses and box springs, which you can typically find at your local home store. Even if you haven’t been bitten or there isn’t currently evidence in your home of bugs but the research about bed bugs makes you start to itch, buy yourself a protective cover. They are comfortable to sleep on and most home stores have a variety of sizes to fit your bed. Try to opt for something mid-level or above as you don’t want it to rip or tear easily. Bed bugs will be easy to spot against the white or light colour of the protective cover and be sure to check for holes frequently.
- Vacuum Frequently! The easiest trick to help with bed bug prevention is to vacuum your carpets and every rug in your home at least once a week. If you are currently dealing with an infestation, vacuum every single day. When you’re finished, immediately throw out the vacuum contents and seal them in a plastic bag before disposing of them carefully. If you don’t empty your vacuum, the bugs inside will re-spread around your home.
- Freeze belongings that you can’t dry! Anything that wouldn’t make it in the dryer should be packed up in plastic bags and stuck in the freezer overnight or longer. If you have a deep freeze, feel free to toss your suitcase in there to freeze any possible bugs or eggs. The trick to freezing bed bugs is keeping them very cold for an extended period of time and you might need to lower the temps on your freezer.
- A few essential oils that will make your things smell fantastic while also helping prevent bed bugs! Not to be used as the only method of prevention, adding a spritz of an essential oil mix to apply to your bedclothes, clothing or coats can help keep them at bay. Use scents like peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, lavender, tea tree and thyme to deter bed bugs!
Seek Professional Services
A bed bug problem should never be taken lightly, if for no other reason than they are such a headache to get rid of for homeowners and renters alike. Sometimes all the prevention methods in the world won’t save you from one stray bed bug. If you do acquire bedbugs, be sure to follow the above steps and continue sleeping in your bed, do not move to the couch or a cot as they will infect these furniture items too. Do your best not to spread them around your house to minimize the infestation.
Dealing with bed bugs on your own is a mammoth task and one that you don’t have to face alone. Our experts are ready to help you tackle any bed bug problem and come up with the best solution for your issue. Give us a call at 403.262.1666 and we’ll discuss how we can help you prevent bed bugs all year round!